Monday, August 29, 2011

On Solid Ground

After spending a few days decompressing on Texel we headed into Den Helder.
  Seb’s family surprised us with a committee of family and a few close friends on Saturday, August 20th at the 'Museumwerf Willemsoord' in Den Helder to welcome us home.  After over two years, 25 000 nautical miles, 28 countries and two relaxing days on Texel we sailed our trusty vessel the last six nautical miles to Willemsoord.  What a feeling!  A wild and wonderful mixture of excitement, happiness, relief and curiosity coupled with a good dose of fear and sadness.   But seeing all those familiar faces waiting on the dock temporarily took away all awareness as we jumped off the boat to start hugging and catching up. 

It has now been exactly a week, a whirlwind week, since this wonderful welcome.  On Tuesday at 0630 a huge truck arrived at our house to deliver a ridiculous amount of boxes full of things that we haven’t used for over two years.  We spent the rest of the day sorting through and with our new minimalistic outlook we were able to pack up half of it again to be given away.  Whew! Now we just need to take care that we don’t start accumulating again. 

And how does it feel? Well, really comfortable and quite normal and nice so far in these early days.  Busyness has kept us from focusing much on what we have left behind but I expect this will change once we are settled. We’ve had dinners with family and friends, coffee chats and catch ups and have plowed through a lot of unpacking, administration and general organization.  Life on land requires a whole new kind of management.   Some things of course are simpler.  We can shower every day, do laundry in our own machine, throw the dishes in the dishwasher after dinner and the only weather window I need can be found on the to see if there are 10 minutes without rain so that I can bike to the grocery store. 

Seb’s most emotional moment was seeing the Lange Jaap lighthouse in the distance on the approach and then seeing his father standing on top of the Fort Kijkduin waving a Dutch flag as we sailed towards Texel. Mine was on Sunday afternoon when we went together to pick up the last things from the boat.  I looked around and pictured my little family scrambling about in the little cabin and thought about the coziness and freedom of living on board and of all the incredible purely happy moments that we shared. I silently said goodbye to that wonderful way of life and thanked our Pjotter for taking such wonderful care of us.

And what are you planning to do now?  Emma starts school at the Europaschool on September 5th.  Macsen starts kinderopvang at Basja on September 7th.  And Seb and I are having long discussions about the short term future and how we want our life to be.  (Discovering things together, being unique, being together and being totally dependent upon one another, things are realer, more important and you don’t get caught up in the small things.  ) Among other things we want to keep it simple, keep an awareness of the environment and scarcity, keep an awareness of cultures and the world, keep sailing and keep our closeness as a family.  Oh, and we need to find jobs or something valuable to do with the rest of our time.  Time will tell how successful we are with these pursuits.

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